The FIFA draw to determine the dates and matchups in the final round will take place Nov. 7. At that point, the USSF will begin exploring venue options for the five home matches. The opener is Feb. 6, with the draw determining whether it is home or away.
While Klinsmann was answering questions on the call, Jozy Altidore scored twice for AZ Alkmaar in a 4-1 Dutch Cup victory at third-tier SWZ, increasing his total in all competitions to 11 in 10 matches. The coach was asked whether he has had any communication with the striker since dropping him from the roster ahead of the final two semifinal-round qualifiers in October.
“We have had no further contact since then and I haven’t made up my mind yet if I call him up for Russia” for the Nov. 14 friendly in Krasnodar (10 a.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN3.com).
Klinsmann plans to lean heavily on European-based players — the match comes during a single FIFA fixture date in the heart of league campaigns — but he will also consider MLS players whose teams have been eliminated from the playoffs. The roster probably won’t go public until three days before the match.
Where does all-time scoring leader Landon Donovan stand after missing several qualifiers with injuries and indicating he is unsure about his future heading toward the next World Cup?
“I find it really courageous of him to talk openly about what is going through his mind. I can understand all of those thoughts and try to understand his personal situation, which I do with every player. … It’s really down to him, what he wants to further achieve in his future, what he wants to do. Whatever he decides to do will be very respected by us.”
Is Donovan in the hexagonal plans?
“We all hope so. Things can change overnight in our environment.”
Asked further about Donovan, Klinsmann said: “After the playoffs, we are going to sit down and talk. He is always in our plans, absolutely.”
Concerning Nurnberg right back Timothy Chandler, who is weighing his options about between the U.S. and German programs, Klinsmann said: “I have been talking to him. It’s similar to Landon; they have to make their own decisions. It’s totally up to him how fast the decision on his end will be made.”
Klinsmann said he is content with backline development, citing Geoff Cameron‘s emergence at Stoke and on the international level; Oguchi Onyewu‘s re-emergence at Malaga; Carlos Bocanegra‘s experience; Clarence Goodson in Denmark; and Maurice Edu‘s versatility. He also mentioned Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Tim Ream.
On the left, Fabian Johnson “gives us a completely new element going forward.”
Bundesliga veteran Steve Cherundolo and Danish-based Michael Parkhurst, as well as the Mexican league’s Edgar Castillo and Michael Orozco Fiscal, are also in the mix. One lingering question is whether Aston Villa’s Eric Lichaj will receive a call soon.
Discussing the scrutiny he receives after each roster selection and whether that indicates a growing intensity and passion about the national team, Klinsmann said: “All of us enjoy that because it shows that soccer is growing in the U.S. in a very fast pace. Interest overall is getting bigger and bigger. … There is so much interest in the game, it’s just awesome. If people discuss every roster and every individual player, it’s just great. The more people that discuss it, the more opinions are out there — I love that. It’s good for the game here in the U.S.”
A few notes:
At 9-2-2 in 2012, the USA is enjoying its best winning percentage in the modern era.
Forty-five players have earned at least one cap this year.
Twenty-six players appeared in the six World Cup semifinal-round qualifiers. Of those, 11 made their qualifying debuts.
Ten players have scored this year, led by Clint Dempsey‘s six goals and three apiece by Donovan and Herculez Gomez.